It’s okay to cry- honest!

I’m going to release on this post a bit of tears and sadness, some for Dorothy and some for me.  I might post when I done and I might not, we will see if the keyboard still works when I’m done with the tears.

“It’s okay to cry, it’s okay to cry, you can cry if you want-if you want me to, I’ll cry with you, it’s okay to cry.”

This is a song I made up to sing to my grandsons when they were little.  I explained to them that it is okay to cry.  It’s an emotion- it’s a gift from God- it really is.  Crying is a great emotional release it’s always there when you need it. By no means should we abuse it- and we don’t want to ignore it- just let it flow like a river. It’s a cleansing of sorts- a release of all our sadness, worries and sometimes anger.  You must let it all out to make room for all the goodness that is waiting to come in.   It’s okay to cry!   I would also add a verse for whatever the reason was for the tears like  “ if you fall off your bike or your trip on a hike- it’s okay to Cry”, “if you mom say no and your dad does too, or If you don’t want to take a nap but you know you have to- it’s okay to cry”.  

When I get mom out of the “storage facility”- get her settled in the car, help her with the seat belt- these days she has forgotten how it works- I need to stop at the back of the car and cry for a few seconds.  I don’t let it last long, but I do let some wetness seep out.  I guess I could stand back there and have a good cry- then get it together and get in the car. She doesn’t know how long she’s been sitting in the car waiting anyway.  But, for some reason I just can’t allow myself to let go at those times. I’m always happy when I’m with her. Besides, I’d probably start crying again when she looked at me and asked me why I was crying. So, I let myself release the river in the middle of a commercial- or a hallmark movie- or while listening to an audio book while I’m walking or driving in my car. Sometimes I let it loose at a stop light or when I’m talking to someone on the phone- I have been known to mute them and them ask me “are you still there”.   You just never know when it’s going to rain.  And it’s okay.  I’m not complaining- I just get tired, frustrated, and sad.

Sometimes I let myself slip into the mindset of why?  Why mom?  Sort of like what I do automatically when I hear of a mom or dad with young children- and when one of the parents dies unexpectedly or is diagnosed with cancer and die way before the kids need them too.  Or when a little child dies or something bad happens to them. I wonder why – with all the bad people in the world why not take one of them?  It just doesn’t seem fair.

But then I realize that it is our journey – God has the plan, and we are not supposed to question.  This is a hard life lesson that I still haven’t mastered yet.

So, I’m going to cry for Dorothy, my amazing mom, I’m going to cry for myself, my brothers, my daughter, Cade & Cannon, and all of those who knew mom when she was “normal”.  I’m going to cry for not totally understanding why.  I’m going to cry because I know whenever I go see her, she will not remember that I was there 30 seconds ago.  I’m going to cry because I am not equipped to take care of her.  I’m crying and crying and crying.  I’m singing my song, “It’s okay to cry, it’s okay to cry- 

 “ When your loved one has Demenita and you don’t know what to do, it’s okay to cry, when your worn out from the songs they sing, it’s okay to cry”.

Life is short- Do what you like and like what you do.  Love, live, explore, do, accept, smile, open your hearts, be grateful, be thankful, be honest, be sure that those you love know how you feel- believe me- they can’t hear it enough.  Just be the best that you can be- and give the best that you can give.

            Connie Smith- Run Away Little Tears  (-:

Love & Light

Cheryl Doreen

Surgery went well

Dorothy’s surgery went off without a hitch. Last week I watched them carve off a piece of her face-put it in a sample bottle to be sent off for more tests- interesting how they do that. First, they numb your face- the worst part of the procedure- then the doctor, with skilled precision slices off a slab of your face.  Surprisingly not too much blood- a band aid and directions for tending to the wound. It was to be always kept dry- except for when it was to be cleaned once a day with soap and water- then Vaseline put on it and a clean band aid.  I had to ask the doctor to write it down per the words she had said.  The nurses at the Memory Care will not do anything- even if it’s common sense-unless it is written down as orders by the doctor.   Then we were out the door.  Dorothy had no idea where she was or what had just happened to her.    

  The nurses did a great job of keeping it clean, dry and Vaseline (d) up.  I took her back yesterday -one week after surgery- to have the stitches removed and have some more spots frozen off her face.   She had no idea where we were, but she was in good spirits.  All her reports came back negative. The nurse removed her stitches and when the doctor came in to check her out- the doctor asked mom “so, you liked the sun when you were younger?”  Mom replied yes, “I love the sun and I still do, the doctors will tell you the sun is bad for you but, I’m here to tell you they are wrong- the sun is not bad for you”.   LOLOL, You Go Dorothy!   Like I said -she had no idea where she was or what was going on- but she knew well enough to know she loved the sun and didn’t agree with the doctors.   The look on the doctors’ face was priceless.  I just smiled!  The doctor looked at me and all I could do was continue smiling.  I’m sure while the doctor was looking at me she thought- you’ll be in here in 20 + years getting your face frozen off and cut on if you don’t stay out of the sun.   (-:  I’ll take my chances.  (-:       

 We stopped for Ice Cream after the office visit.  She was so excited!  It’s just the little things. I also took her to the junky store- it had been a while since we’ve been in there and she was telling me everything she saw.  She was feeling normal in the moment.  It was a good day!

I took her back to her place- she had no idea where we were when we pulled up.  I told her “this is where you live mom,” she didn’t say anything- we just walked in.   Martin was the first person we saw when we walked in Memory Care. She knows him and she was happy to see him, she went right over and sat down beside him.

 I was happy to see her happy -and I realize again that she is safe and where she needs to be.  I’m glad her and Martin have each other.  

I’m thankful I was able to be here for mom and help her through this ordeal.   I’m thankful for the nurses who took great care in keeping her wound dry and clean.  I’m thankful for Martin and the other friend’s mom has, I’m thankful for the safe place she is in.  I’m thankful Dorothy.

Peace & Love,

Cheryl Doreen 

Biopsy results……

The call came in for Dorothy’s biopsy- the left cheek is pre cancer and will have to be “dug” out- another biopsy to make sure they got it all.  The other cheek is good- they will just freeze it like the rest of her face.

I saw mom yesterday and her frozen face look good, which means the nurse is doing a good job of keeping Vaseline on her face.  So, next week we go for round two to the dermatologist.  Hopefully, this will be the last visit.  (-:

Paul went with me yesterday to see mom, and when we walked in and she saw us- it took her a few minutes to realize who we were- I’m sure the masks so, I pulled down my mask so she could see could get a better look. I could tell the moment she recognized me.  She lit up!  She then recognized that Paul was with me and her light got brighter.  Paul walked her back to her room and her song began. (-:  Is today the day I get to go home?  She asked every few minutes.  Why am I here? They don’t do anything for me here but feed me!  Is another line she uses all time.  Where am I is always in the loop along with who’s house is this?  

I let Paul focus on mom and I went about finding her dirty clothes and what few nick knacks are left.  She must think she is going home, and she wraps them for safe keeping in clothes or towels and puts them in her drawers.  I find them, pull them out- ask her if she knows what it is, if she does- I put it back in its place. If she doesn’t know what it is I take it home with me.   I can remember when she moved in, she was adamant about not having a bunch of stuff in her room, I wondered why because her room looked so bare.   Now I get it.  She did not want to be overwhelmed with the clutter- or with packing all of it up.   Today there are only 6 things still out: a photo of her, her sister, and their dad together.  A photo of Granny and Pappy, a photo of Cade & Cannon, a frog statue she has had forever, two blue angels and a stuffed angel on her bed.  She also has a vase of plastic purple flowers – her favorite color, it’s interesting it is never in the drawers.   

I helped mom with a shower and when she walked out of the bathroom, she saw Paul and said “when did you get here? I didn’t hear you come in- I was in the shower”.  Paul just acted like it was the first time he saw her too.   She loves the shower, and she always says she feels so clean afterwards. (-:   At least once a week I know she’s clean.  (-:

We visit awhile longer and it’s time to leave.   Hugs linger a little longer these days and I know when we walk out the door, she will have already forgotten that we were there.  

It’s interesting, there was a period of a few months that I didn’t think I need to express myself, but I find myself again having to write about this journey.   Some days I cry and some days I don’t.  But I am always grateful and thankful for the short time we spend together.  I keep trying to push these current memories to the back of my brain- and try to remember mom when she was unbroken. I think that is the biggest struggle for me, the unbrokenness is foremost and sometimes it refuse to yield.  I know she’s back there and I must keep forcing memories forwards.  (-:

Love and Light!

Cheryl Doreen

Dermatologist Visit

I took Dorothy to the Dermatologist the other day. She has some places on her face that are irritating her, so she picks at them.  One day when I was visiting her- she plainly stated she wanted me to take her to the doctor so they could be removed.  So, I did.   I’m telling you —–this outing would have made a great short comic movie clip. 

We got her checked in at the doctor’s office (facemasks are still required in the office) and we were called back to the room.  She climbed right up on the examining table like it was no big deal.  (All I could see was her sliding off and hitting the floor-thankfully, she did not.)  When she was up on the table, she looked at me and asked for the 5th  time since we had gotten to the office- where are we?  (-:  What are they going to do to me? Her response was always oh, ok good!  Then she would touch her face searching for the spots and once she found them, she would point them out to me.  (-:  

The nurse came in first and it didn’t take her too long to figure out mom was “special” she was very sweet to mom and directed questions to her and looked at me for agreement.   The doctor came in –introduced herself and went right to mom’s face.  Mom backed up and asked her what she was doing and the doctor just kind of looked at her – and then me, and the doctor explained she was just going to look at her face.  LOLOL, (keeps me from crying) I guess it is one of those “you have had to been there” stories.

Anyway, she had some spots frozen off and the doctor took two biopsies- one off of each cheek.  She put band aids on the biopsies.  By this time the freezing pain had settled in- her face was priceless, and she was complaining that her face hurt- and asked the doctor what she had done to her face. (LOLOLOL, yes I actually chuckled.)  Dorothy could not remember from 45 seconds what was happening.  The doctor looked at me for help-  I told mom what was happening and assured her she was going to be fine.  At this point the doctor praised her for being such a good patient.  (Note to self- ask the front office staff to write DEMENTED on the outside of the folder in big red letters so the doctor will see it.)

We left the examining room with facemasks on- when we left the office and closed the door– she asked where we were going.   Sigh!  Then she asked where we had been.   She read the name on every door on the way out.   It’s interesting to me that her brain can still put letters into words and those words into speech- but she can’t remember what she just did.  When we were outside I told mom she could take her mask off- she said a firm NO- she did not want her face to get infected.  Dementia is weird- how at that moment did she know what she had just done?  

I find myself sometimes doing the same thing- not remembering where I put my phone, my keys, did I lock the door? Why am I in this room? Etc., etc., etc.   And I wonder if when I’m with mom I’m looking at my future.  Then I shake it off and move on- my ex-husband tried to teach me that there was no reason to worry about what might be- it will be what it will be.  I am just now learning that. (-:

It was a good day, we had lunch together, hung out together, laughed together, cried together and even played her song over and over a few times.  It will be a few weeks and we will take the trip back to the doctor’s office to either have the two biopsied cheeks either frozen or another procedure done.  We will not worry about it- we will deal with it when it comes.

Love and Light!

Cheryl Doreen

no end in sight

You would think that watching, loving and knowing someone decline right before your eyes with dementia would get easier. For me it does not, it sucks.  It sucks that I cannot help any more than I am.   I know that I cannot take care of Dorothy, she is just like a toddler- into everything and remembers nothing.  That’s not true, she knows me and Paul and Jessica and the boys.  She thinks her sister, granny and grandpa are still alive. But she does not know what just happened, where she is or how she got there.   It never ends.   Never.  

I am so happy that Covid shutdown is over, and I can go see her and take her outside or out for a drive.   I am so happy that I am able to do her laundry again.  I have even gotten to the point of giving her a shower and washing her hair once a week when I am there- just to know it is being done.   They are scheduled to do the same two other days a week, but I can’t be sure, I’m not there. 

It is sad how “dirty “everyone is.  It’s not like they are dirty-dirty, they are just dirty, everyday life makes you dirty, even if you don’t do anything- and a shower twice a week just doesn’t seem right to me.   But that is the way it is in memory care, I understand, there are just not enough workers to do the job.   And there is no additional money available on our end- so we get what we pay for.   If we could afford 5K a month, I ‘m sure she could get a shower every other day.  Along with more activities and more entertainment more “life”.

Don’t get me wrong- mom is in a good place- I know this- much better than where she was and much better than living with me. I could not take care of her 24/7- I’m not trained, nor do I have the ability -mentally to do it.   At least when you put a toddler down for the night you know they are going to sleep at least 10 hours without waking up in the middle of the night confused and wondering where they are.  And toddlers can pretty much tell you what they want and need. 

I am thankful and I count my blessings. I am thankful that mom is in a good place and I am able to go see her. I am blessed that she is still here with us and she knows who I am.   

I have a girlfriend whose mom is in memory care and her mom is at the stage where she does not remember her anymore.  She knows she has a daughter, but she does not know who she is or even her name. My friend is a very strong woman, and I am learning from her on this next step -that I know mom will be in sooner or later.  My friend goes to see her mom, feeds her and sits and talks to her like a friend- because that is who her mom thinks she is – a friend.   That’s all she can do and she’s doing it.    I love her!

I am also doing what I can do, and I am sure that anyone reading this blog is doing the same thing, what they can do.    I can listen, agree, laugh, love, give hugs and answer the same questions over and over and over again.

You’ve got a friend, James Taylor

Love and Light,

Cheryl Doreen

Mother’s Day

Mother’s Day 2021 was a good day.   Mom got to get out and come over to my house, and spend the day with the family.  The weather was perfect and the food delish- first grill out of the season. Yay!

Jessica and the boys were over, so Dorothy was on her best behavior. It’s funny how she doesn’t complain or fuss when Jessica is around.  (-:   I guess we all have that person who we want to continue to be strong for.

It was a good day- even if mom had no idea where she was and kept asking where she was- and was confused on who the boys were – we took turns answering her questions and asking her some to try to redirect her mind- even if she was saying the same thing over and over again like-listening your favorite song- it was good to have her with us. When it came time for mom to leave- she was here almost 6 hours- I realized that we did not take any photos.  So, I got everyone in one spot to take a few- mom was not happy about it and did not want her photo taken, she did stand still for them, but you can tell in the photo that she did not want to have anything to do with smiling.  So- mental note for me-next time get the photos done first thing- this way everyone is smiling and excited to be together. 

This could be the last mothers day with mom- or it could not be- we just never know.  I do know that it will be a good memory for me for the rest of my life.

Peace & Love,

Cheryl Doreen

Hello

Hello, Old Friend – really good to see you once again!  

Eric Clapton –“Hello Old Friend” (no reason to cry album).   

Dorothy is good!  She’s still a bright light shining for everyone around her. She has a happy smile, and positive energy surrounding her- they enjoy her where she is.  (-:  The Assisted Livings have opened back up for all who what to go inside and see their loved ones.  I’ve been every week- for the past month (-:  and It is really good to see mom again on a weekly basis.    (-:  ❤    

I go, and we sit outside and visit- we change her bedding and I go on a hunt to find her dirty clothes.  (-:   She says she doesn’t understand how the dirty ones get back in the drawer.   She moves what little decorations and personal treasures around and sometimes I find them in the drawers hidden under clothes.  I’m assuming she is packing to go home and other times she is hiding them, so no one takes them.   

I usually put them back out where they were before she “hid” them – always, without saying anything .  Sometimes I will take the framed photos of current pictures home with me- because I wonder if she does not know in the moment who they are- and sometimes she does not when I ask her- and this is why they are in the drawer.  I do know that her granny, pappy and sister’s photos dating back to the 1940’s are always out.  And she shows them to me every time I go. 

Last week when I visited, we were able to bring three of her friends outside with us Walter, Jim and Rosa. We all sat at a table in a circle. All I had to do was ask a few questions to Walter and Jim to see what they had to say or wanted to share.   Walter is as you know the police officer from up north-he never seems to have much to say- he’s very soft spoken, kind, bright eyed man- probably mid 50’s.   Jim, I found out was a boxer back in the 80s and 90s – when he told me his name and talked about his past-he had a sparkle in his eye.  He was happy to tell someone his story- and I was happy to hear it. I made sure to look him up on the world wide web.  Sure enough! – he was everything he said he was.   Now- mind you Rosa and Dorothy did not need to be asked any questions- they asked them.  As soon as the boys were quiet for a moment they both would start in-  LOL   They both wanted to know when they could go home, how much longer they would be there and why they were there.   

This was very interesting to me- the men seemed content to be there and just be- and the women were the ones seeking a way out.  (-:

It’s been good to get back to see mom on a somewhat -regular schedule- to spend some time with her and just sit and listen to her.   Even if it’s the same old record- at least it’s her voice.   I am looking forward to taking her up to the lake- a 10-minute drive from where she is- as soon as we are allowed.  (-: I look forward to sitting with her outside, with no fences or buildings in site.

It is still tough- tough to watch the strong, independent, all knowing, all loving woman that she has been to me my entire life be so lost and confused.   

All I can do is what I can do- so, I do it.   I go, I talk, I hug, I love, I ask questions, I agree even when I know what she’s saying is wrong- it doesn’t matter-  I just be there for her.

Love and Light!

Cheryl Doreen

Doctors Appointment

Moms outing on Monday was really good.  Even though it was cloudy and grey -she was very happy to get outside.  We went to Mexican for lunch and sat for almost 2 hours eating and visiting.  She wanted desert and I let her decide- she picked apple turnovers with ice cream- can’t remember what they are called at a Mexican Restaurant.  I cannot do cinnamon or ice cream, so I did not have any.   When the waiter brought it out, I couldn’t believe how huge it was!  It was big enough for a family of four- to share.   Her eyes were as wide as my grandsons when we get desert at a restaurant.  She acted just like the two of them , she couldn’t get enough of it.   I literally had to take the plate away after she ate two turnovers and two scoops of ice cream. 

 I know they do not give them much sugar where she is- and I did not want her getting sick.   She actually begged me to let her have more LOLOL   all I could do was laugh.  

 She was in good spirits the entire day and I kept her mind occupied with questions, so- she did not dwell on the “when can I go home” questions.     When she did ask about “when can I go home “?  I answered it like always- explaining to her why and also asking her a few questions of where we were and what we just did.  She of course- couldn’t answer them.  So, I said “mom, this is why you are in memory care, you can’t remember what just happened a few moments ago”.  She actually laughed and replied “ Cheryl, I can’t remember anything”.  At this point I asked her ”mom, what is on your brain right  now, what is the first thing that comes to your mind, or a memory of yours you can share”  – she looked at me strangely and replied “ I don’t have any memories and I don’t have anything in my brain.”   Sigh! 

So, I asked her what she did when she was 10- she told me a few stories that I had heard before and a new one that I hadn’t heard.  She went on to tell me there was a family member, a man- who would come over with his wife and crippled son. She said that he would pretend to “play around” with Delores and I -but, what he was actually doing was feeling our breasts.   I was shocked!   I asked her how many times this happened and if she ever told anyone about it.  She said that it happened about 6 times- then she would never get close to him after that- she said that she couldn’t tell anyone, because they wouldn’t believe her- he was such an outstanding man and a very good husband and father.   It made me stop and think how many times this still happens today to both boys and girls and the fact that they are afraid to speak out for the same reason. 

The doctor’s appointment was great- her feet are good, as is the circulation- the doctor trimmed her toenails- which haven’t’ been cut since November- when I did them- for some reason due to covid they do not cut them at the home anymore.   Another one of those “Help me understand why”.    

I pray the covid will leave this month- as quick as it came last year at this time and we can all get back to what “normal” was for everyone.  I know it will not be the same as it was- but hopefully the elderly, children and abused humans will be able to get out, feel more loved and possibly get out of the situation they’ve been tied into for the last 12 months and maybe brave enough to say something to someone.  I just hope whoever they tell takes it for fact and helps them.

Love, Light, Peace & Love,

Cheryl Doreen

Sunny Day (:

I was lucky enough to get a visit mom – no code reds for Covid- this past Tuesday.  It was a beautiful day – 70 degrees and not a cloud in the sky.  She came out with a nurse- who stayed close by the entire time, I’m assuming to make sure we do not hug, or take our masks off.  

Her eyes were lit up and she stared right in telling me about her latest adventure. It went something like this; I am not quite sure how it happened it did not start out as an adventure, two people met one another and in the grocery store- we started talking about the food and blah, blah, blah and he said do you want to go out to dinner tonight?,  And I said yes, I love to-then I won’t have to cook.  She laughs at her joke-  she kept talking about how he was a mommy’s boy and he was taking care of her.  He said he had a job but, he never went to work.  He was very clean, had very nice manners and very good looking.  And we went out a few times, and I think he and his mother was looking for someone for him to marry because she was getting older.  And he would need someone to take care of him.   She went on with this story for about 20 minutes- I just sat and listened.   I was trying to figure out if this is one of her memories a time in her life, or – if she read it in a book, saw it on TV or just made it up.   I’ll never know.

The day was a good day, she was bright eyed,  focused on her story and was very happy.  She didn’t spend too much time worrying about what, why and when – of what happened to her as to why she is in “this place”.  It was a wonderful visit. 

I have figured out the game, and I have set up a doctor’s appointment for Monday, so I can get her out of the facility.  I cannot go get her and take her out just for fun or just to spend time with her, but I can go get her and take her to the doctor and it’s okay.   Sigh!!!!!!

I’ll let you know how it goes.

Love & Light!

Cheryl Doreen

Happy Birthday !

Happy Birthday Dorothy!

  Last year at this time, Paul, Jessica & family and I took mom to and Italian Restaurant for lunch- It was a great day!  The manager on duty was so kind to her and made her feel so special. Afterwards we went to the pet store and where Cade & Cannon picked out some Beta fish- Mom totally enjoyed looking at all the animals in the store.  

This year it will be very different -she gets a Unicorn Birthday Party -with her friends in Memory Care.  The family will not be in attendance   )-:   as we are still not allowed to go in and visitation is still limited for certain days and certain hours. So, I did what I could, I called the director and asked her if it I purchased the party- if they would throw it.  She seemed to be excited about the idea and said they would celebrate at lunch.       

  This morning I took over a big bouquet of flowers, plenty of cupcakes, unicorn plates and napkins (which Cade & Cannon picked out) along with some children birthday noisemaker horns- I hope they let them blow them (-:

I also took over some cards- for her to open.  Hopefully she will have a very special, Happy Birthday.   I have an appointment to see her tomorrow so, I ‘ll continue the party with a present or two. (-:    

I just called to double check on my appointment to make sure they were not on lock down- and I’m still cleared to go. I was told during this phone call that they would not give mom the flowers- I brought-  they are not allowed to have any flowers in memory care- unless they are edible flowers- Oh my gosh!   I asked why?  And was told that the residents (or at least one resident somewhere) think they are candy and they eat them- so, they are not allowed.   So sad!   

So, I will pick them up tomorrow when I’m there to visit mom- and I will enjoy them myself for a few days. (-0:

Happy 84th Birthday mom, I’ll see you tomorrow.

Love & Light,

Cheryl Doreen